Past Times: Matron’s post not so popular

From The Shetland Times, Friday 4th August 1961

Matron’s post not so popular

When the post of matron of the Bruce Hostel was advertised in 1923 there were 103 applicants; when the post again became vacant recently it was advertised – and there was only one applicant.

On Monday night, the Shetland Education Committee decided to appoint the only applicant, Miss Margaret Henderson, a native of Lerwick, to the post without interview, temporarily for six months.

Miss Henderson is presently employed as an assistant matron at The Priory, Richmond, Yorkshire.

Mr R. H. W. Bruce asked if anyone knew why the popularity of such a position had declined so much recently.

The chairman, Mr R. A. Anderson, said there was a much wider variety of posts of this kind available nowadays. In 1923 such an appointment had considerable standing, but that had been somewhat lost in the variety of posts available to girls with this type of training – in other words they were looking for better jobs.


The Schools and Staffing Sub-Committee recently reconsidered the question of employment of married women teachers in relation to a circular and report on the working party of the distribution of Scottish teachers.

It was recalled that the Secretary of State had introduced a scheme urging education authorities to employ married women teachers wherever possible, so that others might be released for service in schools in their own area, or in areas suffering from acute staffing shortages.

Shetland Education Committee had agreed to support this scheme of voluntary restraint in a qualified way. It had been pointed out that there were over fifty married women teachers on the local staff, and the circumstances here were rather different from those which obtained on the Scottish mainland, inasmuch as there were often good reasons why young school teachers, having completed their training, should wish to return to a teaching post in Shetland. The Education Committee were confident they knew all married women teachers not in their employment, and they did seek to employ such teachers in a temporary capacity wherever possible.

The report indicated that Shetland’s practical response to the scheme was satisfactory, and went on to suggest that the scheme of voluntary restraint should be continued for another year.

The chairman suggested that applications by married women should be considered individually. The Rev. H. A. S. Brydone moved that priority be given to applications from unmarried women teachers and widows, and that thereafter application should be received from married women according to their length of service with the Education Committee. This was seconded by Mr. R. A. Johnson and became the finding of the meeting.

Mr R. A. Johnson referred to the fact that the sub-committee appeared to be performing a function which was rightly that of the Education Committee – the making of appointments. It was agreed to recommend that in future the sub-committee should consist of all members of the Education Committee so that decisions could be approved immediately. (At Monday night’s Education Committee meeting this recommendation was accepted.)


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